China's FAST identifies three new pulsars

The China-based FAST, the world's largest single-dish radio telescope, has discovered three new pulsars, the National Astronomical Observatories of China (NAOC) announced Tuesday.

Details of the pulsar #1 discovered by China's FAST radio telescope. /Chinese Academy of Sciences Photo

The FAST has identified nine pulsars since its trial operations began in September 2016. According to Zhang Shuxin, deputy chief of the NAOC's Guizhou branch, the discovery of more pulsars will be common for the FAST in the future.

Pulsar observation is very important as it can be used to confirm the existence of gravitational radiation and black holes. In addition, it can help solve many other major questions in physics.  

The FAST telescope /China Daily

When the FAST comes into formal operations in 2019, it is expected to discover more than 100 pulsars each year for human beings, said Li Di, chief scientist of the NAOC radio astronomy division. Its key tasks include the observation of pulsars as well as the exploration of interstellar molecules and interstellar communication signals.

Located in a naturally-formed deep and round karst depression in southwest China's Guizhou Province, the FAST has a receiving area equivalent to about 30 football fields.